Reality Check

So the other morning, while I blearily stumbled into the shower, I got just a glimpse of myself in the mirror, looking the same as always. All this stuff I’ve been talking about happening are, um, not really all that evident. Or, rather, they’re present, but in very small quantities.
I replaced my razor blade with a new one, and my miami vice-like roughness went away. So I dug the old one out of the trash. I am such a n00b.
I want to talk about trans guys who don’t pass. This is a topic laden with all sorts of baggage. But, it is true that there is some population of people who go on T, who get various surgeries, who do all kinds of things and yet do not pass. This could happen to me – it’s something I have no control over and, indeed, might not even notice happening. This used to give me pause, but now, really, I can’t complain about looking like a dyke, so if it happens, it happens.
I was reading some crit theory about how body transformations are perceived through the lens of gender. Specifically, it was talking about a reality TV show called the Swan and also about a documentary series about trans youth. These depictions subscribed to a cultural myth that femininity is artifice and masculinity is internal. The women on the the Swan, who underwent extreme plastic surgery, get to look in a mirror only after it’s all over and all exclaim that they’re not themselves. The trans women in the documentary are coached on how to move and act in a more feminine manner. By contrast, the ftms look in the mirror and see what they felt was always lurking there. I AM myself, rather than I am NOT myself. The ftms get no classes in how to move and act like men.
There’s some truth to femininity being artifice – I mean, look at all the props! But masculinity also has that element. Boys are rigorously drilled on how to move and act like men. You run like a girl, you throw like a girl. They undergo training as well. Training that ftms don’t usually get.
And so part of the reason that some ftms don’t pass is because they move and act like dykes. I want to hold on to my dyke roots, but I don’t know how much or in what way. Do I want to try to adopt a more manly affect? Do I move like a dyke now? Do I want to change that?

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Charles Céleste Hutchins

Supercolliding since 2003

One thought on “Reality Check”

  1. In my humble opinion, it comes down to the construction of the pelvis. It is impossible to completely emulate the gait of another gender. Now I want to take some sort of trans-dar test, because it seems to me that rarely do transgender folks “pass”. I speak only for myself, of course. I have a fascination with “checking people out” in a pretty thorough manner. I became obsessed with this when one of the jar heads in my squadron told me that I “smoke like a girl”. There are ways to emulate the other sex, but the mechanics of the way the legs attach to the body can’t really be changed. I amend my statement to this: It’s really hard to “pass” whilst ambulating.

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